How Color Evokes Emotion

Col­or is a pow­er­ful psy­cho­log­i­cal tool that affects how we feel. Prop­er­ly uti­liz­ing how col­or evokes emo­tions can pro­duce sig­nif­i­cant results in mar­ket­ing your brand. 


This is the sec­ond in our three-part series on Col­or Psy­chol­o­gy, focus­ing on how col­or evokes emo­tions.  Col­or use can cause us to react, shift our mood and even cre­ate mea­sur­able effects in our brain and ner­vous sys­tem!  Are the col­ors you’re using com­mu­ni­cat­ing what you intend?

How Color Evokes Emotion 

You’ve heard that hos­pi­tals use calm­ing col­ors like blues and greens on walls, art, in fab­rics and even light­ing to calm patient anx­i­ety and fears and help them to rest. Because of the qual­i­ties they evoke, those col­ors also play a part in heal­ing.  How pow­er­ful is that? It also helps con­cerned vis­i­tors relax too. This is only one exam­ple of col­or psy­chol­o­gy that is at work all around us. 

Tap into Color’s Super Powers

We’ve said many times that pick­ing col­ors for your brand or mar­ket­ing cam­paigns go beyond what looks good. How about rely­ing on what’s trend­ing for guid­ance? Col­or trends can inform the shade you use but keep in mind that they have no influ­ence over the emo­tions col­or evokes. So it’s smart to be very delib­er­ate in choos­ing hues based on what they com­mu­ni­cate to the audi­ence you want to reach! Here are the basics:

Color meaning chart by Nicte Creative Design

Color Combinations Count

Sub­tle shifts in feel­ing can occur based on how col­ors are used, or when com­bined with oth­er col­ors. For exam­ple, visu­al­ize a bright yel­low com­bined with black. Now visu­al­ize the same yel­low paired with light pink. Just the men­tion of the com­bi­na­tions like­ly caus­es dif­fer­ent effects in your minds eye. The graph­ic above reveals how pick­ing the wrong col­ors and com­bi­na­tions can com­mu­ni­cate an unin­tend­ed mes­sage — or worse, harm your brand!  So it’s imper­a­tive to under­stand how col­or evokes emo­tions and the role that plays in prop­er­ly per­suad­ing your consumers. 

Reach­ing your cus­tomer emo­tion­al­ly is a dri­ver to action and that is where we have exper­tise. Whether your brand is estab­lished, just form­ing, or if you’re con­sid­er­ing a rebrand, it’s well worth hav­ing a strat­e­gy ses­sion with us to assess your col­or pro­file and espe­cial­ly to deter­mine how com­bin­ing col­ors can be sure to sup­port and be con­sis­tent with your brand.

If you want to be assured that your cur­rent choic­es — or what you are con­sid­er­ing — work togeth­er CONTACT US to dis­cuss it.  We’re here to help you succeed!

Every year, we put out a new col­or trends guide­book inspired by Pantone’s col­or of the year. To dive deep­er, down­load our 2020 Col­or Trends Guide­book for FREE 

Com­ing Next Month: Col­or does evoke emo­tion, but the cul­tur­al con­text can also play a sur­pris­ing­ly big part. Look for the next in our Col­or Psy­chol­o­gy Series on How Cul­ture Affects the Mean­ing of Color.

About the Author

Nicte Cuevas, Principal of Nicte Creative Design, empowers mission-driven businesses through strategic design & branding. Nicte has applied this when working with Adobe Spark and Twitter Business, LinkedIn Learning, Dogs on Deployment and Purina, Girl Scouts, The Houston Zoo and The Contemporary Arts Museum. Her excellence in communication design & marketing has been recognized by multiple national / international awards, including a coveted feature in Graphic Design USA's People to Watch.

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  1. I appre­ci­ate that you touched on inter­na­tion­al appli­ca­tion. This is a good reminder to be con­sis­tent and inten­tion­al in all we do! Can’t wait for the next blog about cul­ture. I have been focused this last year on men­tor­ing grad­u­ate stu­dents in the devel­op­ment and sup­port of learn­ing design for non­prof­its and lead­er­ship coach­es. It has been a joy! But my next step is to release an aligned pod­cast. Final­ly, I feel right about this one being true to my pas­sions and skillset. I already have the sup­port in place to release tran­scripts (and over time more) in Span­ish, French and Por­tuguese. The friends who are help­ing me with that piece are pro­fes­sion­al for­eign lan­guage trans­la­tors and learn­ing design­ers. Mario lives in Haiti, Mon­i­ca in Guatemala and Elza from Por­tu­gal liv­ing in the States. So much fun ahead! Thanks for the pow­er­ful exam­ple you set for oth­ers, Nicte! You are sim­ply amazing!

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